I am not naturally a housekeeper. Years of messy bedrooms, cluttered corners, piles of laundry – clean and dirty, stacked dishes, and a blank slate for a menu had given me the impression that a clean house would never be in my future. Whenever I heard moms talk about wanting to stay at home with their kids, I honestly cringed because nothing IN THE WORLD sounded worse to me than the responsibility of keeping a clean house. SO OVERWHELMING. And lest you think I dislike my kids, my impression of staying home was much more about the housework than it was parenting.
I do, however, like a clean house.
When I had Elianna, it became clear that I’d need to up my game a bit in the cleaning department or else our house would be taken over by baby toys, burp cloths, and snack crumbs. However, I had absolutely no method and lived in a constant state of tension with myself over the state of our house. Quite honestly, I felt like a big fat failure in the wife/mama department because I had a desire for a clean house but couldn’t quite stomach it. JD being the cook (a very clean one, by the way), garbage man, Rowdy caretaker, home maintenance, mechanic, etc. meant yours truly needed to take initiative for other house chores.
Well, actually – a brief overview of our family first…
For those of you new to the blog, JD and I are both Directors for Student Ministries at a church in Hawaii. We both work full time, sometimes in the office, sometimes at home. As we adjusted to life in ministry with one baby, El came to the office with us, played at home while we studied/did admin, occasionally ventures meetings with us, and is babysat by VERY gracious people occasionally during the week. Little time for cleaning. Little time to stay afloat.
And now enter Claire.
I am not officially back to work yet – perhaps I’ll post a follow up in a bit – but I’ve spent a good portion of my maternity leave attempting to figure out how we will stay afloat once I return to work full time with two kiddos and little childcare (btw – if you are reading this, love babies, and have a hour or two to spare during the weekday without need for pay – this is my plea for help ;)). At the center of this has been a desire to keep our house clean and stress-free.
A friend was over chatting with me and I mentioned how overwhelmed I was with the condition of our house, the constant clutter, and not knowing how I was possibly going to enjoy where I lived with two babies, while working full time. She looked around, looked at me, and said, “have you heard of the FLYlady?”
I had, once, in a seminar for women in ministry, interestingly enough – but never checked her out. My friend told me to go to her website, that all I needed to know was on the website and that the first step was shining my sink. Whatever that means.
I went to flylady.net right after she left, spent quite a bit of time learning her website, and then shined my sink. Gloves and all.
It was oddly exhilarating.
FLYlady says to shine your sink every night before going to bed (after the initial clean, this just means keeping it wiped down, free of dishes, disinfected, and shiny at night), gradually builds a routine in your day to allow for decluttering, picking up, daily household chores, and general organization. If you want to know more, click here.
I committed to try her 31 beginner baby steps – one step a day – and I can proudly say my sink has been shined for 31 days and my house looks amazing.
It is far from being completely clutter free and clean, but I’ve begun to set some solid routines in my day to ensure a picked up house always company ready. Whereas it used to take me hours to ready the house for company, I can honestly take 5 – 10 minutes at any given part of the day and feel like my house is presentable for company.
What it has done for my soul is just as transforming as the appearance of our house. I am eager to clean, to keep our house lovely not just for myself – but for my husband and babies. Without knowing it beforehand, God has used this funny little process to instill in me a servant heart for my family that I didn’t know existed. I am more confident, eager to have people over, and MUCH. LESS. STRESSED. Back to thinking I could have 800 babies, work full time, write a book, and travel to the moon… 😉
All because of a little shiny sink.